WASHINGTON -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro endorsed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in her presidential bid on Thursday, further feeding talk that he could eventually be on the ticket with her.
Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, will join Clinton at a rally in his home city later Thursday. He said his support for the former secretary of state is based on a long relationship.
"I believe that she has a very strong vision for the future of the country, that she understands the right investments that we need to make in opportunity and how to ensure that America prospers in this 21st century, so this is not something that's against another person. This is really an endorsement of her," Castro said during an interview with MSNBC when questioned about the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden jumping into the race.
Pressed on his chances of being picked by Clinton to be her vice presidential running mate if she were to win the nomination, Castro laughed and said, "I doubt that's going to happen."
During an event with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Clinton was asked if Castro would be her VP.
"I think really highly of him and I am thrilled to have his endorsement today. Both he and his brother, the congressman, are just among the best young leaders in America, regardless of category or the fact that they come from San Antonio," Clinton said, hinting at the influence Castro and his brother would have among Hispanic voters. "So I am really going to look hard at him for anything because that's how good he is and he deserves the accolades he's receiving."
When praising Clinton's work to support and help advance Latinos, Castro was asked about Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and his ability to energize the Hispanic base.
Castro dismissed Rubio's qualifications, saying it's more about policies that will benefit Latinos than whether a candidate is Hispanic.
"To the credit of the Hispanic community it's not just about your last name or where you come from," Castro quipped. "The Hispanic community is just as savvy as any other community. It's the positions that you take on the issues. So the challenge that the Republicans have is not really about personality; they have the personality. They have the folks that will go out there and say a few words in Spanish. Their problem is the policy, and that's a very big problem for them in this cycle."
A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month put Rubio well behind Republican frontrunner Donald Trump among Latino voters in Rubio's home state of Florida.
In an MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll last month, Clinton garnered 50 percent of the Latino vote compared to Rubio's 44 percent in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.
Elise Foley contributed reporting.